Tag Archives: The Concourse

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR : NATURE @ THE CONCOURSE

This was a stirring, thrilling concert of enormous range and vibrancy.

Under the dynamic, precise baton of guest conductor Matthew Wood the latest Willoughby Symphony  concert had the umbrella title NATURE.

First was Smetana’s symphonic tone-poem The Moldau, evoking the flow of the Moldau River from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. The piece is one of six works that form his cycle My Country .

The Moldua  is divided into eight sections and includes a village wedding, hunting horns and nymphs dancing in the moonlight. It began with bubbling flute and was mostly tumbling and flowing, the orchestra surging with shimmering violins and pulsating woodwind and a torrential tempestuous, crashing finale

Next came the presentation and announcement of the 2017 Young Composers award, presented by Willoughby Mayor Cr. Gail Giles-Gidney to Ella Macens for her work Flight. The APRA encouragement award went to Andrew Howes.

Ella Macens

With Macens in the audience the Orchestra performed a richly textured and multilayered rendition of her work. The piece began strongly  with pulsating percussion and striking woodwind. Most of the work was a conversation between the violins and the rest of the orchestra.

We then heard Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca by 2017 Composer-in-Residence, Daniel Rojas with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and mezzo-soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong.

Jenny Duck-Chong

This marks the final collaboration of Rojas with the Orchestra as composer in residence for this year.

The three powerful short pieces ranged from celebratory bells to silent mourning. Based on stories by Lorca the piece was conceived as a trilogy that celebrates the tragedy and triumph of love, innocence and unbridled passions.

The piece was full of dark, fiery Flamenco passion with staccato palmas and stamping rhythms, castanets and tambourine. Duck-Chong was compelling and charismatic, the Choir in fine form with a HUGE sound.

After interval we heard one of Australia’s most distinguished horn virtuosos, Hector McDonald, in a special guest appearance, performing Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11.

Strauss’ piece had a crashing strident opening with lush lyrical strings in the first movement and superb playing by McDonald, dominating the orchestral discussion.

The second movement was softer and more thoughtful with tentative woodwind and the final, third movement had darting flute and dark tumbling dramatic strings while the horn was rather bright and skittish. McDonald’s  playing was refined and glorious.

We were then privileged to hear as an encore a most unusual combination horn and harp in Dolci Pianti (Sweet tears) by J. Strauss Jnr. The horn with its showy flourishes rather dominated the flowing, rippling harp, as played by Meriel Owen.

The Orchestra performed one more piece in the encore. This was Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78. full of varying moods, warm strings and delicious woodwind. At times it was strident bombastic and loud, with scurrying strings, or conversely softly creeping with cat like tread, at other times jaunty and dynamic, or rich, ominous and exotic. Under Wood’s baton the Orchestra was extremely well balanced and played with gusto in a thrilling performance.

Running time – roughly 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir in NATURE played the Concourse Chatswood on the 16th and 17th September 2017.

Program :-
Smetana’s The Moldau
Ella Macens Flight
Daniel Rojas Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca
Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11
Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78.

For more about the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra visit http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/willoughby-symphony/

LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

The latest thrilling concert as part of the Live at Lunch series featured the artistic director renowned flautist Jane Rutter and special guests pianists Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt.

Kevin Hunt is a jazz pianist-composer who has performed regularly in the Sydney jazz scene since 1979. Hunt currently performs regularly with vocalist Emma Pask and pianist Simon Tedeschi and is a lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music.

All three were obviously having a hugely enjoyable time as did the packed audience.

The stage was mostly bare apart from a large projection screen and two shiny black pianos facing one another.

Rutter wore a glittering gold and yellow outfit and the two men were dressed in suits.

The concert opened with a medley based on Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, a witty dialogue between the two pianos with its catchy, syncopated beats. The second piece was floating shimmering and delicate, rippling and romantic. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Jane Rutter.

This was a delightful concert the theme of which was nocturnes and songs to the Moon – appropriate for a performance on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Jane Rutter’s special guests artists this time were soprano Catherine Bouchier, pianist John Martin and singer/guitarist Bertie Boekemann.

For the concert Rutter wore a striking, elegant blue gown with a draped over the shoulder long silver shawl.

The concert opened with Dvorak’s Song to the Moon  from his opera Russalka in a passionate performance. Schumann’s Mondnacht was melancholic and Strauss’ Die Nacht was somewhat brighter in mood with a rippling piano and flute. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE

 

Celloist David Pereira. Images by Steven Godbee

One hundred years after the First World War, bullets, bones and bombs are still being discovered by farmers in the fields of France. They remind us of the men of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and France who died so painfully in the trenches in the rain and mud.

I was privileged to be at this latest Live at Lunch concert and hear this luminous, soulful performance.

The marvellous quartet of musicians consisted of Jane Rutter on flute, Tamara-Anna Cislowska on piano, David Pereira on cello and Christopher Lantham ( the director of The Flowers of War) on violin. Rutter wore a striking kimono/suit like outfit in turquoise and black the other performers were in orchestral black. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE

GLORY : WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN CONCERT @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured image : Chilean born Composer in Residence Daniel Rojas.

This was a magnificent, thrilling performance by the combined forces of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the umbrella title GLORY (no, not the song from Pippin) as conducted by maestro Simon Kenway.

Charismatic Kenway was energetic, enthusiastic and precise and introduced each of the three works briefly putting them in context. Under his baton the Orchestra was in fine form and displayed  a lyrical, warm tone.

The concert opened with a lush, intense presentation of Faure’s Pelléas and Mélisande, a suite in four movements of Faure’s music for Maternlick’s play.

The magical mysterious discovery of Melisande is described in the first section – the Prelude began in traditional French Baroque form, rather slow and stately with lush strings that ebbed and flowed throughout. The section featured stormy horns and woodwind.

In  the passionate second movement, Melisande at the spinning wheel  is evoked – you can hear the whirring as she spins.  Faure captures her charm and apparent innocence. Prick your ears to listen for the interplay of soprano and tenor melodies in conversation, especially when the second theme emerges from solo clarinet and horn. The oboe however is the primary ‘singer’ of this song without words.

The third section is the famous Sicilienne featuring a delicate, limpid flute solo, and the orchestra shimmering and bubbling.

Then came the turbulent finale of the death of Melisande, which was played at the end of Fauré’s funeral, as his coffin was carried from the church.

The next piece in the program was a Latin piano concerto by  Dr Daniel Rojas, Composer-in-Residence. Dr Rojas is renowned as an award-winning composer specialising in the Latin American aesthetic, as well as an acclaimed pianist with stunning live improvisations.

Chilean born, Rojas draws on his heritage and a broad musical palette that includes Latin American indigenous, folk, classical and popular traditions, as well as Western classical and jazz techniques.

His concerto blended refined classicism and explosive Latin -American rhythms in three challenging movements.

Rojas’ playing was very energetic and emphatic. He played with enormous authority and exceptional technique – at times shimmering and birdlike, at other times blisteringly fast and joyously explosive when it came to the Latin-American dance rhythms.

The first movement was a showcase for Rojas’ bravura playing, thoughtfully accompanied by the Orchestra. The second movement was more a dialogue between piano and orchestra and the third movement included achingly beautiful violin segments.

The thrilling dynamic work was brought to a breathless , exuberant finish . For this work Kenway was hidden from the view of most of the audience – he was behind the piano so the Orchestra could see him.

The audience applauded rapturously and for an encore we heard Rojas’ arrangement of the soulful, passionate Resureccion del Angel, by Astor Piazzolla.

After interval came the very strong and powerful performance of Poulenc’s Gloria , with Laura Scandizzo as soprano soloist .( Scandizzo has previously performed with the Willoughby Symphony in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for their Joy concert) .Among other choreographers Sir Kenneth Macmillan and Graeme Murphy have used this work for their ballets . Poulenc’s work is short and intense. First performed in 1961 it is a setting of the Gloria from the Catholic Mass in Latin in six short movements. It is full of joy yet threading through it is humility and a luminous clarity.

The packed Choir and Orchestra were superb in a thrilling performance. From the start we become aware of its human focus yet grand scope – a lofty fanfare segues into a somewhat lighter register blowing away hints of royalty or superior aloofness penetrating chords contribute to the sense of continuing quest , but this ebbs as the choir becomes a corroborative authority figure over eddying strings. We are taken on a wheeling kaleidoscopic journey of emotions including wonder, jubilation and satisfaction as well as humility.

The opening was bright and stately the chorus entering with a prominent dotted figure to the word ‘Gloria’, which forms the basis of this movement.In the second movement Laudamus Te the choir bubbled and rippled with pairs of voices -; altos and basses , sopranos and tenors – exchanging a series of short, succinct phrases. In the Domine Deus,with its glorious flute accompaniment, Scandizzo was pleading, sombre and reflective. In the fourth movement the choir and orchestra combined in a lush thrilling blend of six bubbling melodies.

In the Domine Deus and Agnus Dei there was an ominous ticking sound underlying its relentless ,sweeping rhythms .Listen out for the eight point harmony of the Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris and the soaring final Amen as sung by Scandizzo and then echoed by the choir with haunting woodwind brings everything to a radiant conclusion.

Running time 2 hours 10 minutes (roughly) including interval.

GLORY by the Willoughby Symphony was at the Concourse April 29 & 30 2017

 

LIVE @ LUNCH : FLUTE SPIRITS AND THE SEASONS @ THE CONCOURSE

 

This was a  very exciting, dynamic and unusual concert, part of the Live at Lunch series at the Concourse, devised and presented by internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter.

The performance opened dramatically with a very unconventional version of the traditional balled The Minstrel Boy featuring a new arrangement by Jane Rutter. Rutter, wearing a  heavily brocaded kimono like outfit with a gold outer layer over pink and green floral underlay, was superb on flute with Blak Douglas equally good on didgeridoo.

Rutter then went on to  talk about how she has a great sense of belonging to the land and country and its songlines and how the flute and the didgeridoo are two of the world’s instruments.

Continue reading LIVE @ LUNCH : FLUTE SPIRITS AND THE SEASONS @ THE CONCOURSE

LAWRENCE LEE AND SIANG CHING NGU IN RECITAL @ THE CONCOURSE

In early April, good friends and very talented musicians, violinist Lawrence Lee and pianist Siang Ching Ngu, will present a charity concert entitled TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH MUSIC during which they will play works by Brahms, Kreisler, Tchaikovsky, Falla, Sarasate and Piazzolla at the Concourse.

All proceeds from the recital will go to a very good cause, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia; a not-for-profit organisation providing Clinical Musical Therapy and Community Music Programs.

Nordoff-Robbins runs numerous programs aimed at transforming people’s lives through music including musical therapy for special needs schools and aged care facilities, running music clubs for people with a disability, as well various training and education programs to spread the influence of music through the broader community.

CONCERT DETAILS : 

The concert TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH MUSIC will take place on Wednesday 5th of April, 7:30 pm at the Concourse Chatswood.

For more about Transforming Lives Through Music: Charity Violin & Piano Duo, visit http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=TRANSFOR17
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MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

The Melbourne Ballet Company  (MBC) has been going for a decade now and this is their first visit to the Concourse with their explosive and dynamic triple bill of world premieres given the umbrella title of BEING IN TIME.

One of the important philosophical publications of our time by Martin Heidegger is the foundation for the work. The program examines the belief that philosophical thinking begins with and reflects its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is grounded in time. Another phrase for it is ‘living in the moment’. All three short, sharp works used a recorded soundtrack. Continue reading MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY PRESENTS ‘BEING IN TIME’ @ THE CONCOURSE

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dr Nicholas Milton were off to a terrific start for 2017 with their concert entitled GENIUS, part of the year long program entitled ENDURING PASSION.

The concert featured works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms with special guest artist, gifted violinist Lily Higson-Spence.

Overall the orchestra was in fine, glowing form with a delicious rich tone. Dr Milton conducted very energetically yet extremely precisely .

The concert rocketed off to a tense, dynamic start with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No.3. In the form of a dramatic full scale single symphonic movement, the piece was eloquently played and featured an augmented horn section. The work featured surging, crashing, tempestuous strings with a flute soaring above and  an inquisitive questioning woodwind, all leading up to an impressive, thrilling finale.

Guest artist Lily Higson-Spence, in a long flowing halter neck beige gown with a large bow at the back, dazzled playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor Op.64.

The standard symphonic structure is used by Mendelssohn but slightly changed by the composer. It is regarded as one of the most lyrical and flowing works of its type and is one of the most frequently performed of all violin pieces. The work had its premiere in Leipzig on March 13, 1845.

For this work, Higson-Spence, Dr Milton and the Orchestra combined as one for a magnificent performance. It was mostly Higson-Spence ,however, leading the discussion between the three in collaborative harmony .

Higson-Spence’s bravura solos were mesmerising. Her violin had a pure tone, precisely controlled yet volcanic underneath. Sometimes the violin, singing its heart out, was lyrical and reflective, melancholic and passionate, at other times the violin darted about at a blistering pace.

There was a seamless flow between movements : the first was somewhat turbulent, with a wonderful bassoon transition to the ardent second movement and the third movement was animated , leading to an invigorating finale. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY GETS PHILOSOPHICAL WITH ITS NEW WORK : BEING AND TIME

Simon Hoy is the resident choreographer and tour director of the Melbourne Ballet Company and up till now has created seventeen works for the Company.

Hoy studied at the Australian Ballet School and has worked in Europe, Asia and America before returning to Australia in 2007.

The Melbourne Ballet Company, established in 2007, is led by Alisa Finney, and has talented dancers from around the globe.

As part of a national tour, and the Company’s tenth anniversary celebration, they are bringing a triple bill entitled BEING AND TIME to the Concourse at Chatswood.

This is a world premiere production and will feature new works by Simon Hoy,  Lucas Jervies (who has worked with the Australian Ballet, Scapino Ballet, Expressions Dance Company , Sydney Dance Company and the Queensland Ballet, among others ) and Tim Podesta (who has worked with the South African Ballet Theatre, Queensland Ballet and Projection Dance, to name just a few).

Hoy described this new production, ” as  examining the belief that philosophical thinking begins with, and reflects, its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable, living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is ‘grounded in time’, or the more popular way of describing it, is ‘of living in the moment.”

Hoy has been inspired by reading the works of Martin Heidegger the German philosopher. “While the predominant value of existentialist thought is widely acknowledged to be its freedom, its intrinsic primary virtue lies in its authenticity. Being and Time seeks to explore the concept of authenticity and the meaning of life, striving to articulate the question of Being.

“Through the movements depicted , questions are raised, – where does this movement come from? what does it mean to be human?!”

Hoy said that with this new work he is, “attempting to ignore his knowledge and preconceived ideas about the Company’s dancers, and create something as new, fresh and challenging as possible.”

The company is very excited as Mara Galeazzi, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet – currently performing with them in Woolf Works – will be joining the Company for the production.

Hoy has worked with her previously on a gala, and has already met with her this year.and met her again earlier this year.

In other exciting news, Joseph Phillips , of the State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater in Vladivostok, and formerly of the American Ballet Theatre,  will also be part of the production.

The Melbourne Ballet Company is classically based but like almost all dance companies now performs a mix of a variety of styles including ‘neoclassical’ and contemporary, They have a loyal following and have developed enthusiastic audiences in not just Melbourne but in regional areas too.

Hoy said he  regards regional touring as very important and is excited that the Company  is touring widely including to Darwin, Alice Springs and Western  Australia.

The Melbourne ballet Company can be seen performing BEING AND TIME at the Chatswood Concourse on March 11 and 12.

The Company will return to the Concourse again at the end of June when it will stage another new work, Arche, based on Swan Lake.

 

SIRO – A @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

 

This is madcap, exuberant fun, making for marvelous school holiday fare. It is a high energy dance, techno and visual spectacular direct from Japan and these shows in Sydney are their only Australian performances.

The award-winning dance troupe have taken the world by storm, attracting millions of views on YouTube following their appearances on America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent.

SIRO_A’s unique combination of energetic dance and ground-breaking video-mapping technology – alongside a pulsating techno beat – creating an audio-visual spectacle that appeals to audiences of all ages.

Their name SIRO-A (SIRO = White, colorless in Japanese) means “belonging to no group, impossible to define as anybody.” SIRO-A fuses mime, groundbreaking visual effects, and a techno soundtrack to create a whole new entertainment, “Technodelic & Visual Show. Continue reading SIRO – A @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

LIVE @ LUNCH : THE VAMPIRE DIARIES @ THE CONCOURSE

The latest and last in this year’s series of Live at Lunch concerts was based on the idea of the spirit world /the occult and the magic of nocturnal love . Hence the title THE VAMPIRE DIARIES which Jane Rutter also announced had allusions to the very popular Harry Potter series.

Rutter was extremely Gothicky-elegant in a glittering black out fit with a cloak around her shoulders and a white scarf cravat around her neck. Guest artist Simon Tedeschi was stylish in a smartly cut dark suit.

The program opened with Bartok’s Hungarian Peasant Suite for Flute and Piano which was given a lyrical and seductive rendition. Rutter on her flute was shimmering whilst Tedeschi on piano turbulently accompanied  her. At times Tedeschi’s piano had a jazz feel to it, Continue reading LIVE @ LUNCH : THE VAMPIRE DIARIES @ THE CONCOURSE

LIve at Lunch : Viva L’Italia : Life is Beautiful @ The Concourse Chatswood

Accordian player Marcello Maio

The latest delicious offering in the Live At Lunch series this was a wonderful short concert celebrating Italy in music.

Rutter was elegant in black slacks and a lacy top combined with red shoes. She was joined for this concert by Giuseppe Zangari on classical guitar and Marcello Maio on piano and piano-accordion. Rutter mostly used her favourite gold flute but also the piccolo depending on what was required and at times both she and Maio changed instruments mid piece.

The opening Sonata in A Major for Flute and Guitar by Giulani was charming and sprightly with the flute darting and swooping.

Drigo’s fluid Serenade from Les Millions D’Arlequin followed , with is circular melodies and was played with wonderful timing and phrasing (as were all the works selected).

Next came a crisp, sparkling yet lush version of Michel Peguri’s Bourrrasque.

A dynamic infectious performance by Maio on accordion followed.

Vivaldi’s Concerto RV93 in D Major for Guitar came next and was elegant, dreamy, idyllically pastoral and exquisitely refined. The faster, second section with Rutter on piccolo was more vibrant in mood. Continue reading LIve at Lunch : Viva L’Italia : Life is Beautiful @ The Concourse Chatswood

LIVE AT LUNCH – CLASSICAL HEROES AND THE ART OF SEDUCTION @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

Rutter

The first of the 2016 programme was entitled Classical Heroes and the Art of Seduction . We were privileged to have international opera and musical sensation divo Teddy Tahu Rhodes as special guest to enchant us. The concert’s chosen theme was love and seduction.

Curator of the series, internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter, welcomed us and then introduced Rhodes, who came on stage on crutches after a recent accident. Rhodes mostly sang, perched on a stool.

Rutter wore a white long sort of tabard like top with sequin detail and a long apricot coloured skirt with splits at the sides. Rhodes was casually but snappily dressed in jeans , a white shirt , blue tie and a dark jacket. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH – CLASSICAL HEROES AND THE ART OF SEDUCTION @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Bohemian Tango @ The Concourse CHATSWOOD

Elena
WSO 2015 Composer in Residence Elena Kats-Chernan

This was a superb afternoon spent enjoying the three fine music selections, chosen for the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, and presented as BOHEMIAN TANGO.

Energetically conducted by Warwick Potter, the first piece was a symphonic masterwork in five movements, composed by Elena Kats-Chernin, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 Composer-in-Residence. ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ provided a detailed and most magnificent tango experience, performed by the full symphony orchestra. If a CD recording of ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ existed, its beautiful tango music would be a recommended purchase. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Bohemian Tango @ The Concourse CHATSWOOD

Willoughby Theatre Company’s Evita @ The Concourse

Evita-inset
Lucy Hood plays the part of The Mistress. She delivers a great version of the classic ballad, ‘Another Suitcase Another Hall’

Willoughby Theatre Company productions just keep on getting better and better. This amazing production of this now iconic musical, with its huge cast, under the direction of Declan Moore, transports us to Buenos Aires. As we enter and take our seats, tango music softly plays.

Greed, power and corruption ooze through this show. There is much cynical manipulation of the common people and unacknowledged hypocrisy. The musical, told in flashback- it starts with Eva’s funeral- tells the story of the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. Continue reading Willoughby Theatre Company’s Evita @ The Concourse

The Naked Magicians @ The Concourse

TNM - Christopher Wayne & Mike Tyler 1

For a titillating night of mirth and seduction taking place within the world of magic, you cannot go past THE NAKED MAGICIANS. Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler are performing their 90 minute show at the Concourse in Chatswood from the 7th to the 9th May as part of the 2015 Sydney Comedy Festival.

These two magicians do end up taking off all their clothes, excluding their microphone belt. They do so after gently easing the audience towards performer nudity.       Continue reading The Naked Magicians @ The Concourse

WSO AT THE CONCOURSE

Inset

With the umbrella title AMADEUS: CLASSIC MOZART AND BACH the magnificent Willoughby Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and choir presented us with a tremendous performances featuring Mozart and Bach as well as two wonderful contemporary works. Their final concert for 2014 was performed in front of a full house. It was a privilege to have Gail Giles-Gidney, the Mayor of Willoughby, in attendance.

Special guest conductor Paul Fitzsimon was intense, energetic and fiery. He is currently on the staff of Opera Australia and also has various international conducting commitments. He looked slim and striking in orchestral black. Continue reading WSO AT THE CONCOURSE

WTC’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Jesus Christ sits down to his Last Supper. Pic Perfect Images Photography
Jesus Christ sits down to his Last Supper. Pic Perfect Images Photography

This is a dazzling, superb version of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s rock opera JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR that takes one’s breath away.

Willoughby Theatre Company‘s (WTC) revival, directed by Stig Bell is a contemporary reworking of the now classic 1970’s musical that burns , including contemporary choreography,slang and ironic allusions to modern day life that make it as fresh as if it was written yesterday .

In a strong ,powerful piece of theatre , Lloyd Webber and Rice take us through the last week of Jesus’ life and ministry,as based on the Gospels . This includes Palm Sunday ,the Last Supper and end with the events of Good Friday and Mary Magdalene sobbing over Jesus’ inert body.

The cast is excellent featuring magnificent leads and a large, terrific ensemble.  Continue reading WTC’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Live at Lunch: Strauss, Ravel , Canteloube

Flautist supremo, amongst many things, Jane Rutter
Flautist supremo, amongst many talents, Jane Rutter. Above pic star soprano Taryn Fiebig

The latest splendid LIVE AT LUNCH concert was entitled ’ Strauss, Ravel Canteloube’‘ and featured curator Jane Rutter on flute (and assorted other instruments), Vincent Colagiuri on piano and quadruple threat ( yes quadruple threat) and Opera Australia star soprano Taryn Fiebig both singing and playing the cello (who knew that she had majored in cello at WAPPA?! ).

The roughly ¾ audience in the stalls consisted mostly of those over 55 although there were a few younger.

Rutter was stunning in a long sleeveless flowing green gown while Fiebig wore an intriguing, rather odd, possibly futuristic in style black bolero top and a horizontally quilted grey long skirt rather unflattering and stiff. Handsome pianist Vincent Colagiuri was dapper in a tuxedo. Continue reading Live at Lunch: Strauss, Ravel , Canteloube

The Russian Masters

Violinist Ji Won Kim
WSO guest artist Violinist Ji Won Kim

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra has come up with another thrilling, spectacular concert. This time it’s a combination of favourite Russian composers, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, with special guest artist Ji Won Kim on violin for the Tchaikovsky.

Under the dynamic, energetic conducting of maestro Dr Nicholas Milton the Orchestra was in impressive form with a lush, rich tone when required.

The opening work was Shostakovich’s ‘Festive Overture’, (1954) with a gigantic supplemented orchestra. Shostakovich wrote it at great speed to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution and uses conventional classical devices of forms and harmony. The piece begins with a strident brass fanfare and was at times blisteringly fast. There was a very energetic feel. The bulk of the work is written in sonata form which is enclosed within the two fanfare sections and the finale coda. The strings (sometimes using pizzicato) and brass sometimes tumbled together, tuba and cymbals puffing and crashing combining with the violins and cellos towards the breathless coda conclusion. Continue reading The Russian Masters